Object: Age-related morphological changes in the human hyoid bone were investigated radiographically and histologically. Materials and Methods: Thirty-two measurements were performed on radiographs of 238 hyoid bones from autopsy cases of known age and sex. Thirty-one hyoid bones that were studied by radiography were also examined histologically in horizontal sections. Results: Analysis of the length and width of the hyoid bone revealed significant increases in the body and the anterior part of the greater cornu and a significant decrease in the posterior part of the greater cornu with aging. Most measurements of the body and the greater cornu revealed differences between male and female hyoid bones. The outer margins of the body and the greater cornu were situated further outside in older males compared with females. The breadth of the joint space showed a significant age-related decrease, and the degree of fusion showed a significant age-related increase. Histological findings showed ossified or calcified fusion, with osteoclasts in the marginal area of the joint space. Conclusions: Increasing age induces fusion of the body and the greater cornu. The morphometric changes in the shape of the hyoid bone may represent functional adaptation to articulation fixation.
- Hyoid bone